“The Little Mermaid” First Reactions: Halle Bailey IS Ariel in Entirely Enchanting Performance
The first reactions are in for director Rob Marshall’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, and everyone is more or less in agreement that star Halle Bailey is absolutely phenomenal as the young mermaid Ariel. While Bailey is, understandably, getting the ocean’s share of love, her supporting cast is also coming in for plaudits, including Javier Bardem as Ariel’s father, King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as the sea witch Ursula, and Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina as Ariel’s beloved friends Sebastian (a crab) and Scuttle (a seagull), respectively.
A quick refresher on the story of The Little Mermaid; Bailey’s Ariel is the youngest daughter of King Triton (Bardem) and she’s also the most defiant. She has long harbored a desire to learn more about the world beyond the sea, and her natural curiosity eventually leads her to the surface, where she falls in love with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) after saving him from a shipwreck. While Ariel’s actions are obviously heroic, they’re also deeply problematic for her underwater kingdom, where mermaids are forbidden from interacting with humans, let alone falling in love with them. So, Ariel makes a choice that will change all their fates when she strikes a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula (McCarthy), allowing Ariel to experience life on land but plunging her father’s kingdom into jeopardy in the bargain.
Marshall’s live-action take on this legendary short story by Hans Christian Andersen includes the most diverse cast to ever perform in an iteration of the story. The film was written by two-time Oscar nominee David Magee (Life of Pi, Finding Neverland) and boasts a sensational cast. Joining Bailey, McCarthy, Bardem, Diggs, Awkwafina, and Hauer-King are Jude Akuwudike as Grimsby, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Lorena Andrea as Perla, and Kasja Mohammar as Karina. These latter two characters are new additions created for this film.
Check out the reactions below. The Little Mermaid swims into theaters on May 26:
#TheLittleMermaid is a tribute to all little girls to dream big. Halle Bailey is sheer magic and Daveed Diggs a delight as Sebastian. pic.twitter.com/kLD2y62dIF
— Kathia Woods (@kathia_woods) May 9, 2023
#TheLittleMermaid is the best Disney live-action adaptation to date. Halle Bailey IS Ariel. Major props to the sound effects team. Good changes, though one new song with too much autotune. Could watch this version’s Under the Sea all day, it was the highlight of the whole thing.
— Gillian Blum (@GillianBlum) May 9, 2023
Disney’s live-action is magical, emotional and enchanting. Rob Marshall just directed Disney’s best ever live action film. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken’s beautiful music shines. Halle Bailey is absolutely extraordinary! and Melissa McCarthy is a bad-ass Ursula. pic.twitter.com/4ZlpsF8m0D
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) May 9, 2023
It gives me so much joy to tell you to run (or swim) not walk to go see #TheLittleMermaid! A-MAZING. Halle is a STAR. Wonderful renditions of classic songs w/ new (wonderful) surprises. A well-done screenplay, strong performances, and such a magical tone. They got this one right. pic.twitter.com/gommJ2CPf3
— Chauncey K. Robinson (@MsChaunceyKR) May 9, 2023
I was blown away by #TheLittleMermaid. Some visual issues aside, it’s the most romantic and, dare I say, magical Disney has been in years. The best live-action remake by a mile. Daveed Diggs is the MVP. Halle Bailey is a superstar, and her Part of Your World is a showstopper. pic.twitter.com/496HuuTfcd
— Brandon Lewis (@blewis1103) May 9, 2023
I got to see #TheLittleMermaid!@HalleBailey is magnificent as Ariel. She’s radiant, charming & every bit a Disney princess.
Bailey absolutely nails every musical number & carries the very entertaining film. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/ICxwSUQzzj
— POC Culture (@POCculture) May 9, 2023
The Little Mermaid is magical. Halle Bailey is absolutely phenomenal. That girl has some pipes! Scuttle & Sebastian are hilarious & had me laughing the whole way through. Love the new songs & added plot points! Some CGI issues, but they don’t take away from it. #TheLittleMermaid pic.twitter.com/PCDRNotK7L
— Tessa Smith – Mama’s Geeky (@MamasGeeky) May 9, 2023
#TheLittleMermaid can be an enchanting reimagining that expands upon the story of the animated original with modern themes. It’s romantic and full of musical joy, even if it’s slightly overstuffed. If anything, Halle Bailey carries the film entire film with her performance. pic.twitter.com/S2A8egDeqj
— Michael Lee (@IamMichaelJLee) May 9, 2023
#TheLittleMermaid makes it pretty close to being the best live action Disney movie, however it still struggles in the villain department. Halle Bailey IS Ariel and I had literal chills throughout her performance. This is a little mermaid retelling like you’ve never seen before. pic.twitter.com/JjtLOR61vL
— Felicia (@becomingfelicia) May 9, 2023
Disney’s #TheLittleMermaid is definitely one of the better live-action adaptions. Halle Bailey pours incredible emotion into Ariel and I got chills watching her, while Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula and Daveed Diggs’ Sebastian steal scenes all day. pic.twitter.com/DHhIkbIj8s
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) May 9, 2023
#TheLittleMermaid is a live-action remake that retains the heart and soul of the story we know and love, and it’s elevated even further by a note-perfect star-making performance from Halle Bailey – she was born to be on the big screen, & she’s why this new take is worth watching. pic.twitter.com/Tcewp2L4MY
— Zoë Rose Bryant (@ZoeRoseBryant) May 9, 2023
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Featured image: (L-R): Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina), Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.